Trevor Plouffe and Ryon Healy have some history to fall back on before they even start playing together as A’s teammates.
No doubt, their futures are intertwined as well.
Plouffe officially joined Oakland on Wednesday when the team announced his one-year deal that’s worth $5.25 million, plus incentives based on various numbers of plate appearances. General manager David Forst said on a media conference call that he envisions Plouffe as the primary third baseman. That means Healy — coming off an impressive rookie campaign at third — will see the majority of his innings at first base and designated hitter.
Plouffe and Healy grew up in Southern California and both went to Crespi Carmelite High School, though Plouffe, 30, is five years older. But it wasn’t until this winter that they’ve gotten to know each other better, as the rainfall in Southern California drew them both to the same indoor training facility.
They played for the same high school coach, Scott Muckey, which is how Plouffe first heard of Healy.
“I remember hearing about him when he was in high school,” Plouffe said Wednesday. (Muckey) told me about Healy and the kind of player he was. He didn’t give players a lot of credit, so when he did, I took notice.”
Healy works out in the offseason at the Hit Factory in Newberry Park. Earlier this winter, Plouffe popped in with Kansas City Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas.
“It’s kind of coming full circle,” Healy said. “We never thought, being (five) years apart, that we would be teammates. We haven’t had (much of a) prior relationship, but he’s always reached out to me when appropriate. I’ve heard nothing but nice things about the guy. We worked out , chatted and exchanged numbers, and we’re starting that relationship early.”
Plouffe was limited to 84 games last year with Minnesota due to rib and oblique injuries, hitting .260 with 12 homers and 47 RBI. Before that, he averaged 18 homers and 68 RBI from 2012-15, twice topping the 20-HR mark. The Twins non-tendered Plouffe in December rather than pay him the roughly $8 million he was likely to receive in arbitration. That made Plouffe a free agent.
He and Healy make compelling workout partners, as Plouffe’s arrival in green and gold is likely to push Healy over to first, where he played in college and early in his minor league career. But it’s not a combative situation, and the offseason workouts help to build chemistry.
“I was kind of taking my reps at third and first, continuing doing that routine to be prepared for that possiblity,” Healy said. “It doesn’t seem like anything is set in stone. I still have to prove to them I’m ready to play major league baseball come spring time.”
The right-handed hitting Healy will form a platoon at first with Yonder Alonso, Forst said, and see time in a DH rotation that figures to also include Khris Davis, Stephen Vogt, Matt Joyce and possibly others. But Forst noted that Healy also needs to stay sharp at third base.
“It’s easy to envision a scenario where (Plouffe) gets the bulk of time at third base and we still have 500 plate appearances for other guys like Ryon. We have every intention of getting at-bats for Ryon. Trevor is not gonna be out there 162 times, we know that. Ryon is going to have to continue to be ready at third base.”
Forst said the A’s are still scanning the free agent and trade market for potential additions, both on the position-player and pitching side.
Oakland reportedly has agreed to a two-year contract with reliever Santiago Casilla that has yet to be finalized.
The Oakland A’s avoided arbitration with right-handed pitchers Sonny Gray and Liam Hendriks and catcher Stephen Vogt when they agreed to terms on one-year contracts for the 2017 season, the club announced today.
Gray went 5-11 with a 5.69 ERA in 22 starts last year in a season shortened by two stints on the disabled list. His ERA was more than 2½ runs higher than his previous career high and his five wins follow back-to-back 14-win seasons. Gray went 33-20 with a 2.88 ERA 76 games over his first three seasons with the A’s and now has a 3.42 ERA in his career, which ranks ninth in Oakland history.
Hendriks compiled a 3.76 ERA and .270 opponents batting average in 53 relief appearances in his first season with the A’s. He had an 8.27 ERA and .394 opponents batting average in 11 games before going on the disabled list in early May with a strained right triceps. Hendriks then logged a 2.23 ERA and .222 opponents batting average in 42 games following his return from the DL.
Vogt played in a career-high 137 games last year and hit .251 with 14 home runs and 56 RBI. He also had career bests with 123 hits, 30 doubles and 46 extra base hits. Vogt was named to his second consecutive American League All-Star team.
The only remaining arbitration eligible player on the A’s roster is Khris Davis.
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